About us

Our lab is interested in understanding how naïve progenitor cells segregate to give rise to diverse cell types that eventually form an organ. The question of organ formation is even more profound and challenging when applied to a vertebrate nervous system, where hundreds of cell types exist. We address this question in the context of cranial placodes, placode-derived sensory ganglia, and zebrafish lateral line system. Development of placode-derived sensory components of the peripheral nervous system are essential for the formation of cranial sensory systems such as somatosensation and taste. The improper development of the cranial sensory system has been implicated in many human disorders, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, migraines, bladder overactivity, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, arrhythmia, and others. Thus, uncovering genes that specify cranial placodes and ganglia should provide better understanding for the mechanisms underlying these processes.

The mechanosensory lateral line system of aquatic vertebrates is used to detect displacement of water and controls various types of swimming behavior. The lateral line provides an excellent system for studying basic biological processes, such as collective cell migration, and specification, organ morphogenesis and patterning in the genetically-tractable model system such as zebrafish.